Christmas has come and gone, but what do you do with that necktie received from Aunt Dorothy? Write a thank you note to her, put the tie away in a drawer or give it to a woman who makes throw rugs out of neckties.

Why not wear it? Use it as a conversation piece. Find someone who likes it, and you could regift it. I’ll share my experience with neckties.

My first paying job was working in a bank as a teller. Male employees were required to wear a shirt and tie. My supply of neckties was limited at that time, so ties received as gifts were appreciated. While at the bank, I rose from night deposit teller to head teller. Maybe my ties helped.

Although I enjoyed working at the bank and living at home, the time came to go in another direction, which was to start the process toward the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. This required attendance at a seminary for three years. My shirt and tie were still needed at seminary, especially for chapel every day.

After ordination, I exchanged a tie for a white collar, but my ties did not disappear. I found time to wear them when clerics were not necessary. My ministry began in Rochester, which finally led me to Lockport. The parish was small, and it was necessary to become a “worker priest.” Banking was the logical place to start.

Marine Midland Bank advertised for tellers. I was hired. After two weeks of training, I was assigned to the Lockport branch. A tie was expected. After several years, I was transferred to the Barker branch. I experimented with wearing a bolo tie. This was well received.

Another transfer brought me to a branch in Niagara Falls. One day I wore the bolo tie. At the end of the day, the branch manager told me the bolo tie might be appropriate in Barker, but it was not in Niagara Falls.

Nine years later, I accepted a position with Niagara County Social Services as a social welfare examiner. I felt a shirt and tie would be the proper attire for the position. To my surprise, that was not the case. Most of the male employees dressed casually.

For the first three weeks of my employment, some people thought I was a state auditor, because of my shirt and tie. Others could not understand why I would be going to court when I first started. A tie was expected for court appearances.

One day I wore an American flag tie. A female employee asked if I would wear the Union Jack. My response was, “Yes, if someone gave me one.” A few weeks later, the tie was on my desk.

On a day near Halloween, a tie with skeletons appeared on my desk. There was nothing indicating who put it there. During the day, my friend said that her brother received it and would not wear it. She told him that she knew someone who would.

The last position I held with Social Services before my retirement was as a senior caseworker in child welfare. My tie collection included comic strip characters, money bags, flags, oars and many other emblems.

Ties are like any other garment you wear. Styles change over the years. Ties can be wide one year and narrow the next, solid colors or stripes. Ties make a fashion statement. Since I am now retired, maybe I should find that woman who makes throw rugs out of old neckties.